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Full text of "The Loom Of Language"

Language Planning JOT a New Order     497
tration of what Bradley was pleased to call abstruse words has increased
enormously of recent years Nineteenth-century interhnguists with a
conventional literary training and outlook could scarcely foresee a time
when schoolboys would chatter about heterodyne outfits., penscopic
sights, or stratosphere flying as light-heartedly as they had discussed
kites, marbles-, or tuck Wherever there are petrol pumps and women's
journals with articles on modern standards of nutrition, anyone with a
good school education—American or Russian, French or German—
will recall and understand words compounded with thermo-, kine-,
hydro-, phon-, phot-, geo-, or ctoomo- The table on p 498 illustrates
neglect of this Greek building material in favour of the Latin one The
first column lists some 40 Greek bricks which frequently appear in
international words, the second and third exhibit Esperanto and Novial
words which have basically the same meaning as the Greek element in
the first column. With the exception of a few marked by an asterisk, all
of them are of Romance ongin The exceptions (other than mkn
= small) are neither Latin nor Greek.
Thus no existing project can claim to provide for maximum ease of
recognition or memorization of vocabulary, but if no existing project
is wholly satisfactory, it is not difficult to point to the basis of a better
solution What remains to be done is not an insurmountable task The
discovery of a common international denominator does not call for the
elaborate and tedious word-counts which have occupied the efforts—
and wasted the time—of some enthusiasts We can start with the fact
that a growing vocabulary of international terms is a by-product of the
impact of scientific invention on modern society. Hence our first need
is a classified synopsis of technical words which have filtered into the
everyday speech of different language communities These we can
resolve into their constituent parts We can then form a picture of
which roots enjoy wide international circulation The overwhelming
majority will be Greek or Latin For constructing an economical, yet
adequate vocabulary there will be no lack of suitable building material
What constitutes aa adequate vocabulary in this sense enters into
the problem of word-economy For the present it suffices to say that an
international vocabulary need cater only for communication within the
confines of our common international culture Commerce and travel
have equipped us with such words as sugar, bazaar, samovar, sultanas,
fjord, cafe, skis, and there is no reason why an international language
should not take from each nation or speech community those words
which describe their own specific amenities and institutions.